Have a Hazard-Free Holiday Season

Take Steps to Avoid Common Claims Calamities

It’s like clockwork: This time a year every year, insurance providers experience an upsurge in common seasonal insurance claims. Sewers back up; icy walkways lead to trips and falls; overloaded circuits result in fires, and people decorating their homes fall from ladders.

Awareness of reoccurring holiday mishaps is a good first step at preventing them. You and yours can hopefully avoid becoming a 2015 holiday statistic by putting in place ways to prevent these seasonal claims.

Keep Walkways Clear

Photo credit: monkeybusinessimages via istrockphoto.com

Photo credit: monkeybusinessimages via istrockphoto.com

Keep walkways and driveways clear of ice and snow so that guests don’t stumble and injure themselves. Treat surfaces with sand or salt to make them less slippery during frigid temperatures. This will help avoid insurance claims from personal injuries.

Decorate Safely

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that 12,000 injuries involving holiday decorating occur each year. Dad falling from a ladder might be funny in a holiday movie, but in real life, such mishaps can result in calls to the fire department, visits to the emergency room and even death.

In 2012, the CPSC said the most frequently reported holiday decorating incidents seen in emergency departments involved falls (34 percent), lacerations (11 percent) and back strains (10 percent).

Keep Live Christmas Trees Safe

One dry Christmas tree + numerous strands of lights = potential for a costly house fire.

Prevent your tree from drying out by keeping it properly watered, particularly when it’s first brought inside. Never leave tree lights on or unattended or for prolonged periods of time. Lastly, place you tree a safe distance from wood-burning fireplaces, candles and other open flames.

Never Overload Outlets

Photo credit: ajt via istockphoto.com

Photo credit: ajt via istockphoto.com

Overloaded electric outlets and faulty wires are the most common causes of residential holiday fires. Of the 5,300 annual fires resulting from overloaded outlets, the CPSC reports that 2,000 of them occur during the holidays. Using devices with frayed or worn wiring or unsafe decorations lacking the Underwriters Laboratory label are common fire culprits as well.

Avoid Sewer Backups

The aroma of holiday cooking will soon fill your home. Just make sure you don’t fill your kitchen sink with the grease or waste that comes from those seasonal dishes. Cooking fats and oils clog drains, which can lead to sewer problems and costly plumbing visits. Sewage-backup claims increase 19 percent during the holidays, according to Allstate.

Use Caution with Holiday Trash

Lots of presents lead to loads of trash on pickup day. When you dispose of your wrappings by the curbside, you draw attention to your newly acquired, expensive gifts. Packaging for flat-screen TVs, electronic gadgets and gaming systems draws burglars’ attention.

Take the time to break boxes into smaller segments, and place the writing inward so it’s not clearly visible.

Thieves Love the Holidays

Speaking of burglars, Allstate reports that theft insurance claims increase 7 percent over the holidays. Leaving gifts in plain view under the Christmas tree can be an invitation to burglars. Keep the shades closed, put your tree in a room that doesn’t face the street, or keep gifts hidden until you give them.

When shopping, avoid leaving purchases in the passenger compartment of at unattended vehicle. Instead, lock your goods in the trunk until returning home.

Last but not least, avoid advertising on social media that you are out shopping (#I’mNotHomeRobMe). Thieves rely on this kind of information to find their victims.

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